Dictionary book

Chinese woman memorizes EVERY word in English-Chinese dictionary

Traveling dictionary: Li Yanzhi memorized the meaning of each word in the English-Chinese dictionary

A Chinese mother has become a traveling dictionary by memorizing the English-Chinese dictionary from cover to cover, reported the People’s Daily.

Li Yanzhi, 51, of Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, is able to explain the meaning of every word in the 2,458-page book, which has 220,000 entries.

Ms. Li, who divorced more than 20 years ago, undertook the mission in order to receive more translation work.

This helps him support his 26 year old son who suffers from autism and is unable to take care of himself.

Ms. Li is a lecturer in Financial English at the School of Economics and Banking, Xian Transport University.

Since August 2013, she has been reading the dictionary six hours a day from 3 a.m.

In 19 days, she completed memorization for the first time.

According to People’s Daily, to pass the College English Test Band 6, which most Chinese university students must pass, applicants must understand 6,000 words.

In comparison, Ms. Li’s vocabulary is extraordinary.

To help her memorize, Ms. Li borrowed 465 English-language magazines from the university library.

“My biggest dream is to walk into The Brain to challenge myself,” Ms. Li said. The Brain is a popular reality TV show in China that uses a series of games, such as memorizing, to test intelligence of candidates.

Ms. Li said that her son has autism and cannot take care of himself. Since her divorce over 20 years ago, she and her son have been dependent on each other.

As a single mother, Ms. Li had to lock her son in the house every time she went out to work. She said that when she returned, the house was still in a mess.

Learn English in China: Chinese students need to understand about 6,000 to pass the college English test 6. In comparison, Ms. Li's vocabulary is extraordinary.

Learn English in China: Chinese students need to understand about 6,000 to pass the college English test 6. In comparison, Ms. Li’s vocabulary is extraordinary.

But she said she never gave up.

“If I can fly I’ll fly, if I can’t fly I’ll run, if I can’t run I’ll crawl,” she said. “Either way, you have to move on.

In order to improve their lives, Ms. Li does freelance translation work in addition to her regular teaching. Thanks to this, she earned enough to buy a new apartment.

Besides English, Ms. Li has learned to speak more than 10 different languages, including French, Russian, German, Japanese and Polish.

She hopes that by memorizing the 220,000 words in the dictionary, she can encourage students to learn English and increase their vocabulary.

“Lecturer Li is truly a living English-Chinese dictionary,” said Zhang Xinjie, one of his students.